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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A-Z Challenge - S for Scottish Records to the Fore

A-Z of Family History Sources & Stories 
Join me on this A-Z journey to explore the fascinating records 
that can  enhance your family history research and writing.

SCOTLANDS' PEOPLE.  is the definitive site for anyone researching Scottish ancestry, and the only one to date which offers digital, downloadable records.  

The website at  www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk features old parish records (pre-1855), census returns, statutory BMD - wills,  catholic registers, and a more recent feature valuation rolls of property + much more e.g. research tools and background information. 

A pay-as-you-view site where you buy 30 credits for £7.  Search results only cost 1 credit (23p), but to view the actual record costs 5 credits (£1.16), which is where you can soon go through your £7 purchase, f you click to view on a wrong record.

A tip - as I have a subscription to Ancestry, I search initially on this to establish which record is "my" family, before paying to view and download the right record from ScotlandsPeople.

SCOTLANDS' PLACES is a much lesser known site at www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk.   The website  allows  you   to search across different national databases using geographic locations. It features historical buildings and monuments,  gazetteers, name books  & maps.

Of particular  interest are  largely unknown tax records from the 17th and 18th centuries.  e.g. window tax, hearth tax,  carriage tax, male and female servant tax rolls, farm horse tax, cart tax, clock & watch tax, and non-working dog tax.    Well worth looking at for their curiosity value!      A subscription site.

STATISTICAL ACCOUNTS - Written by each parish minister  they give a contemporary  account of life at the time, with the first edition published 1791-99 and the "New Statistical Account" 1834-45, so they largely precede the first census.   They tell you how many paupers, cattle, sheep, horses,  etc. were in the parish,  give details on the land,  trades and occupations, the school, and the church, with frank comments on "miserable hovels", "the church roof leaks rain  on the congregation"  and "there is a want of fuel in winter".

if you have Scottish ancestors  these are "a  must see" rich  source of background information.  Take a look at http://stat-acc-scot.edina.ac.uk/sas/sas.asp?action=public

SADNESS, SOLEMNITY & SISTERS  are all sources of family history stories,  illustrated in this photograph of the MacFarlane family of  Fife in Scotland -  nine sisters (Bridget, Kate, Mary, Ellen, Sarah, Annie, Jane, Maggie and Jemima)  and one brother  (Patrick), with their mother Annie.  The dark clothes and solemn expressions, with their mother holding a bible or prayer book suggest this was on the occasion of a funeral.   The style of dress and the estimated age of the youngest daughter indicated c.1910 and I believe this was taken after the death of their father James in 1912. 

And finally  
SCHOOL RECORDS  have a look HERE at an earlier post on the topic.

SASINES  https://www.ros.gov.uk/services/registration/sasine-register - Scottish property records
Records of all land and property titles or transfers by grant, inheritance or sale as appearing in the Sasine (pronounced 'say-zin') Register or the Land.

The General Register of Sasines - also known as the Sasine Register - is the oldest land register in the world, dating back to 1617. Its name comes from the old French word 'seizer', which means 'take'.
The Sasine Register is a chronological list of land deeds, which contain written descriptions of properties. It is gradually being replaced by the map-based

Onto T for Tributes, Travel  & Taxation 

Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved  



  1. Scottish records are definitely excellent and on ScotlandsPeople they are very accessible and reasonably priced :) I too do some searching on ancestry to narrow the field but the actual records are much better than mere indexes.

  2. A very informative post and one I also enjoyed reading!
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge


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